Phobia symptoms will vary from person to person and can range from being mild and relatively easy to manage, to debilitating and so stopping you from living a normal life. Sometimes, even just thinking about the situation or object you fear can bring on anxiety and trigger your symptoms and it can be very frightening.
If you’re suffering from a phobia and it’s impacting your day-to-day life, it’s a good idea to speak to a GP for advice and possible treatment.
Some of the most common physical symptoms of phobias include:
- Fast heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in your chest
- Tightness in yourchest
- Heart palpitations
- Trembling or shaking
- Hot or cold flushes
- Feeling faint, lightheaded or dizzy
- Racing heartbeat or palpitations
- Ringing in your ears
- Sensation of choking
- Dry mouth
- Feeling sick or being sick
- Needing to go to the toilet
- Not feeling in touch with reality, for example, feeling like you are about to die
How the symptoms of phobias can affect your daily life
The effect of a phobia on your daily life will depend on the nature of your fear and the extent of your symptoms. While people with phobias may know that the fear is irrational, they are unable to do anything about it. This can impact work, relationships and daily life.
Simply avoiding the source of fear may be possible for certain phobias, such as a fear of spiders, leading to a relatively normal, unaffected routine. However, sometimes even just the thought of encountering the source of the phobia can be enough to bring on symptoms in some people. If this is the case it is best not to ignore the problem.
In more extreme cases, complex phobias, such as agoraphobia (a fear of open spaces) or a social phobia, may have such an effect that you may be unable to leave the house.